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Technology in the News

Technology is constantly changing and providing the casual user with challenges never dreamed of. Technology in the News is provided in an effort to assist you in getting the most out of your computer, while avoiding some of the pitfalls. Your computer really isn't out to get you. Why not learn to be friends?

 Title   Date   Author   Host

by David

April 25, 2013

Most corporate customer service departments seem to have been reduced to call scripts of apologies with no power whatsoever to actually address the problems they encounter.

That's the conclusion I'm left with after dealing with three business bureaucracies this year: Comcast, Verizon, and American Airlines. All train their front line people to glaze the interaction with the plastic empathy that's supposed to make you feel like they care, even when they demonstrably do not. It's the customer service equivalent of empty calories, but worse, it's also infuriating. There's simply nothing worse than someone telling you how sorry they are when you can hear they don't give a damn. Nothing worse than someone telling you that they're doing all they can, when they're aren't lifting a finger.

by David

March 1, 2013

Yahoo has some 11,000 workers. Most estimates put the number of remote workers between 300 and 500. In other words, just 2-4% of the Yahoo work force. That's a tiny minority!

But that's exactly why it's been so easy to place the blame on them for Yahoo's ails. Minorities make for great scapegoats in all walks of life. If we can just place the blame on this small group of people, then it means there's nothing really wrong with the rest of us. Gruber summed up this sentiment as "Yahoo employees have been allowed to work remotely, and they have not excelled". In other words, Yahoo is a rudderless basket case, so it must be because of those 2-4% of the work force who are "goofing off". Heh.

by Jamie

January 30, 2013

A few weeks ago I read a letter called Please Don't Help My Kids. This excerpt resonated with me: "It is not my job ... to prevent my children from feeling frustration, fear, or discomfort."

Doing something the first time is a challenge. I have 2 young kids, and I watch them struggle with the most rudimentary things. Eventually they figure it out. Usually it comes with tears and pleading. But that's how they'll learn to do the next thing. That's how they'll get the confidence to take on the next challenge. That's how you level up.

by Jason Z

January 25, 2013

Here's a great bit of advice from Jakob Nielsen's 2001 post about writing company taglines...

by Jason Fried

October 21, 2012

Jeff Bezos stopped by our office yesterday and spent about 90 minutes with us talking product strategy. Before he left, he spent about 45 minutes taking general Q&A from everyone at the office.

During one of his answers, he shared an enlightened observation about people who are "right a lot". He said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds. He doesn't think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait. It's perfectly healthy - encouraged, even - to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.

by Jason F.

October 15, 2012

Customers don't just buy a product - they switch from something else. And customers don't just leave a product - they switch to something else.

It's in these switching moments that the deepest customer insights can be found. On the 2nd of November, a select group of 24 people will attend a unique, hands-on, full-day workshop to learn about "The Switch". Most businesses don't know the real reasons why people switch to - or from - their products. We'll teach you how to find out.

by David

July 30, 2012

Remember way back to, oh, six months ago when champagne was popping and markets were roaring?

Back when companies with no or few profits could premiere on the world stage to grand applause by merely converting a dollar into fifty cents? Those were the good times of boom, boom, pow. It's amazing how quickly everyone has gone from rocking out to that tune to loathing those same beats. But that's exactly what's happened to the pop stocks of just a few minutes ago. Here's a brief recap of just the last six months for three former stars...

by Noah

May 2, 2012

In college, I worked for a couple of years in a lab that tested the effectiveness of surgical treatments for ACL rupture using industrial robotics. Sometimes, the reconstructions didn't hold.

The surgeons involved were sometimes frustrated; it can be hard to look at data showing that something you did didn't work. But for the scientists and engineers, all that mattered was that we'd followed our testing protocol and gathered some new data. I came to learn that this attitude is exactly what it takes to be a successful scientist over the long term and not merely a one-hit wonder. Occasionally, when we're running an A/B test someone will ask me what I call "success" for a given test. My answer is perhaps a bit surprising to some...

by Sam

March 15, 2012

We've been busy tightening the nuts and bolts on the all-new Basecamp in the wake of last week's launch. As part of the process, I decided to take a closer look at client-side page load performance.

Shaving even a tenth of a second off of page load time can have a big impact on perceived performance, so it's a worthwhile investment. Profiling the JavaScript page load event led to a surprising revelation. On pages with many to-dos, an overwhelming majority of the time was spent initializing sortable behavior. The culprit looked something like this...

by Dave Driesmans

February 8, 2012

Here he is: our default profile picture. You may know him as "Generic Avatar".

He's the picture you get when you create a new account and profile on Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. Mr. Default is a standard guy. He's found everywhere on the web (in variations): message boards, comments, activity streams. He forces everyone to look like him regardless of gender, race, and physicality. He's also very boring.

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

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